Greetings: My daughter and I are making a pilgrimage: Port Issac and Highclere Castle in September...from Heathrow we thought we'd rent a car and start driving...It looks like it is 300 miles. Would like suggestions about driving route, good stopping place and hotel along the way? We hope to stay a couple nights in Port Issac then drive back to Highclere Castle for one day, and leave from Heathrow the next day. Unfortunately it is a tight travel schedule. All suggestions would be most appreciated ! Thank you !
As time is not on your side I think you need to stick to motorways as far as possible. These are 6 lane highways with a 70 miles per hour speed limit. Use the Google Maps directions feature and specify Heathrow as your starting point and Port Issac as the destination. The first route it suggests will be via the M4 and M5 motorways as far as Exeter and then mostly the A30 after that. It's 250 miles. I think I'd wait until I was somewhere near Exeter before stopping for the night, or maybe a little past it. However, if you are flying in from the US and arriving early morning you clearly don't want to waste the day, so if the jet lag and your level of tiredness permits it then I'd consider stopping somewhere for lunch and then pushing on to Port Issac without an overnight stop. That route passes within about 10 miles of Highclere Castle, so you should use it for the return journey. Highclere is south of Junction 11 on the M4, just off the A34, so almost all of the way back to Heathrow.
Unless you already have entrance tickets for Highclere Castle you may be out of luck. See also link for opening times and close of visiting season on 12 Sept. http://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/visiting-us/opening-times.html
Kevin and Linda: Thank you so much for your suggestions...I think we will follow your advice, Kevin, and go on the highways straight through to Port Issac on the day we arrive. We do have tickets for Highclere,so we are all set . Thank you both for your help ! Linda
I've driven from Heathrow to the Exeter, Devon area a number of times to visit family. The best route for your trip in my opinion is M25/M3/A303/M5/A30. The drive time is the same as the M4/M5/A30 route but it is much more interesting. You pass right by Stonehenge, for example. Even if you don't stop, there's a good view as you drive past. Port Isaac is quite a long journey after a transatlantic flight which I assume is the case for you. My map makes it about 4.5 hours driving whichever route you take. Don't underestimate jet lag's effect on driving skills and reflexes so add another half hour for breaks to refresh and stretch the legs. The motorway speeds are fast and the traffic is usually busy which is no problem if you are used to driving on our freeways. Be aware that speed cameras are everywhere. A GPS will alert you to the fixed cameras but the mobile cameras may get you. Salisbury is about halfway on my route. The old cathedral there is magnificent. It would be a good place to spend the rest of arrival day and the night. Then go on to Port Isaac (Doc Martin I assume) when you are rested the next day. If you decide in the motorway route, Bath is a convenient and very interesting stop.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response...It gives me a lot of good information to think about. I have driven across Wales and Ireland and I know what you mean about the motorways, the speeds, and jet lag. I will give it a good amount of thought. We've been to Salisbury, Bath, Stonehenge, etc, but I like the idea of a more interesting route... thanks again for the suggestions. Linda
How was your trip? I too am interested in going to Highclere and Port Issac one day. Thanks!